Regional cities back the Australian Government's new migration plan

PROVIDE MORE SUPPORT: Bathurst councillor Monica Morse wants the Federal Government to provide more support systems before sending new migrants to regional areas. Photo: ZENIO LAPKA 101714ztrans3
PROVIDE MORE SUPPORT: Bathurst councillor Monica Morse wants the Federal Government to provide more support systems before sending new migrants to regional areas. Photo: ZENIO LAPKA 101714ztrans3

WILL the Morrison Government's new regional migration plan be a success? It depends on who is answering the question.

In general, members of local councils and business communities in the Central West are happy with the Federal Government's announcement that it will introduce two new regional visas for skilled workers and more scholarships for domestic and international students at regional universities.

Under the new plan, skilled workers will have to live and work in regional Australia for three years before being able to access permanent residency.

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The Federal Government will set aside 23,000 places for the two new regional visas.

It said $15,000 scholarships will be available to more than 1000 domestic and international students each year.

International students studying at regional universities will get an additional year in Australia on a post-study work visa.

The total migration ceiling, however, has been brought down from 190,000 to 160,000 places.

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Bathurst councillor Monica Morse said the scholarship is a good idea.

"CSU [Charles Sturt University] is very good with international students and Bathurst is a very kind place for students to live in," Cr Morse said.

CSU [Charles Sturt University] is very good with international students and Bathurst is a very kind place for students to live in

Cr Monica Morse

Cr Morse, however, asked the Federal Government to provide more support to migrants looking to settle in regional areas.

"They are better off to send more people from one country so they [migrants] have a community of their own when they get to a regional centre," she said.

"Recently the [Federal] government cut funding to the Neighbourhood Centre, where they had a staff member who looked after refugees and immigrants." 

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LOOKS GOOD: Dubbo Regional councillor Anne Jones welcomes the Federal Government's new migration plan for regional areas. Photo: FILE

LOOKS GOOD: Dubbo Regional councillor Anne Jones welcomes the Federal Government's new migration plan for regional areas. Photo: FILE

Dubbo Regional councillor Anne Jones said there are jobs in regional areas. 

"What it [regional migration] does is eliminates the overpopulation we currently have in major cities," Ms Jones said.

"It also enhances the skill base in regional areas, which are suffering as a consequence of people with appropriate qualifications not being prepared to actually come across the Blue Mountains."

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Cr Jones dismissed the view that local residents oppose regional migration in the absence of job opportunities, resources and infrastructure.

"It's like the way it was many, many years ago when people actually came to these regional areas," she said. 

"They are the ones who created the jobs because they had the skills to start businesses at that time." 

Cr Jones said Dubbo has a low unemployment rate and there are many job vacancies at Dubbo Regional Council.

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The Federal Government said many smaller cities and regional areas are crying out for more people.

"Some regional areas simply cannot fill the jobs available," it said.

"There are an estimated 47,000 job vacancies in regional Australia today."

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VERTO CEO Ron Maxwell. Photo: SUPPLIED.

VERTO CEO Ron Maxwell. Photo: SUPPLIED.

Ron Maxwell, CEO of employment and training organisation VERTO, said data from the Regional Australia Institute shows that there are more than 900 job vacancies across the Blue Mountains, Bathurst and the Central West.

"Regional migration can bring a wealth of cultural and social benefits to local communities and also help to address population decline across the regional areas," Mr Maxwell said. 

"It's been proven that skilled migration can work."

This story Need more skilled workers: Central West supports new migration plan first appeared on Western Advocate.